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The Argead dynasty (Greek: ) was the ancient Greek ruling house of Macedon from about 700 to 310 BC. Their tradition, as described in ancient Greek historiography, traced their origins to Argosmarker, in southern Greecemarker (hence the name Argeads). Initially the rulers of the homonymous tribe, by the time of Philiip II they had expanded their reign further, to include under the rule of Macedon all Upper Macedonian states. The family's greatest members were Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great, under whose leadership, the kingdom of Macedon gradually gained predominance throughout Greece, defeated the Achaemenid Empire and expanded as far as Egyptmarker and Indiamarker.


The Argeads claimed descent from the Temenids of Argos, in the Peloponnesemarker, whose legendary ancestor was Temenus, the great-great-grandson of Heracles. In the excavations of the royal Palace at Aegaemarker Manolis Andronikos discovered in the "tholos" room (according to some scholars "tholos" was the throne room) an inscription relating to that belief. This is testified by Herodotus, in The Histories, where he mentions that three brothers of the lineage of Temenus, Gauanes, Aeropus and Perdiccas, fled from Argos to the Illyrians and then to Upper Macedonia, to a town called Lebaea, where they served the king. The latter asked them to leave his territory, believing in an omen that something great would happen to Perdiccas. The boys went to another part of Macedonia, near the garden of Midas, above which the mount Bermio stands. There they made their abode and gradually conquered whole Macedonia. Herodotus describes the incident of the participation of Alexander I of Macedon in the Olympic Games in 504 or 500 BC. The participation of Alexander was contested by the other participants on the grounds that he was not a Greek. The Hellanodikai, however, after examining his Argead claim allowed him to participate. Alexander won the stadion.

According to Thucydides, in the History of the Peloponnesian War, the Argeads were originally Temenids from Argos, who descended from the highlands to Lower Macedonia, expelled the Pierians from Pieriamarker and acquired in Paionia a narrow strip along the river Axiosmarker extending to Pellamarker and the sea. They also added Mygdonia in their territory by the expulsion of the Edoni, Eordeamarker and Almopia expelling the Eordians and Almopians respectively.



  1. Hammond, N.G.L. A History of Greece to 323 BC. Cambridge University, 1986, p. 516. "In the early 5th century the royal house of Macedon, the Temenidae was recognised as Greek by the Presidents of the Olympic Games. Their verdict was and is decisive. It is certain that the Kings considered themselves to be of Greek descent from Heracles son of Zeus."
  2. Howatson, M.C. The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature. Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 339. "In historical times the royal house traced its descent from the mythical Temenus, king of Argos, who was one of the Heracleidae, and more immediately from Perdiccas I, who left Argos for Illyria, probably in the mid-seventh century BC, and from there captured the Macedonian plain and occupied the fortress of Aegae (Vergina), setting himself up as king of the Macedonians. Thus the kings were of largely Dorian Greek stock (see PHILIP (1)); they presumably spoke a form of Dorian Greek and their cultural tradition had Greek features."
  3. Guy McLean Rogers. Alexander, the Ambiguity of Greatness. Random House, 2004, p. 316. "According to Strabo, 7. 1 1 ff., the Argeadae were the tribe who were able to make themselves supreme in early Emathia..."
  4. Andronikos, Manolis. Vergina, the Royal Tombs. Ekdotiki Athinon. The palace of Agai page 38. Inscription found in the Tholo of the palace. “Η επιγραφή αυτή είναι: «ΗΡΑΚΛΗΙ ΠΑΤΡΩΙΩΙ», που σημαίνει στον «Πατρώο Ηρακλή», στον Ηρακλή δηλαδή που ήταν γενάρχης της βασιλικής οικογένειας των Μακεδόνων.” {“the inscription is "ΗΡΑΚΛΗΙ ΠΑΤΡΩΙΩΙ" which means "father (more properly ancestor) Hercules" dedicated to Hercules who was the ancestor of the Royal family of the Macedonians”}.
  5. Herodotus. Histories, 8.137.
  6. Herodotus. Histories, 5.22.
  7. Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. 2.99.

See also

  • Duane A. March, "The Kings of Makedon: 399-369 BC". Historia (Franz Steiner Verlag) Vol. 44, No. 3 (1995), pp. 257-282.

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